ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Prolific Adele eyes up another bestseller

PICTURE: Cambridge News

BY ZOE COHEN

AUTHOR Adele Geras had a fascinating early life, living in various different countries.

Eventually settling in England, she writes children and adult fiction novels.

Her latest supernatural novel, Cover Your Eyes, was published by Quercus last week.

Jerusalem-born Adele was raised in the time of the declaration of the State of Israel.

She explained: "I am the seventh generation of my mother's family to have been born in Jerusalem.

"I lived there until I was four, when my father joined the colonial service.

"Most of my childhood was spent travelling to wherever my father was based.

"I have lived in Nigeria, Cyprus and Gambia, to name a few, and eventually came to boarding school in England when I was 11."

She went on to gain a degree in modern languages from Oxford.

Adele lived in Manchester with Norman, her husband of 44 years, and worked in many different fields, including acting and teaching French at the Droylsden Fairfield High School for Girls.

But it wasn't until her later years when she stumbled across writing.

She explained: "It was a pure accident how I started writing.

"I saw a competition advertised to write a children's story, with the prize of 250. I submitted my entry, but didn't win.

"However, I continued writing and sending my stories to publishers, but it wasn't until two years later when my first story was picked up."

Her first book was Tea at Mrs Manderby's, which was published in 1976.

Her first full-length novel was The Girls in the Velvet Frame.

Adele was raised in a secular Jewish home, and described her parents as "card-carrying atheists".

She said: "We didn't practise anything, but the closest link to Judaism we had was my grandmother.

"She was religious so whenever I would see her as a child, this made me more aware of the religion. I used to go back to Israel all the time with my family.

"But since my mother passed away in 1997, I didn't have any desire to go back.

"I have actually developed a flying phobia, so if anyone wants to see me, I tell them to come here."

Two of Adele's previous books, Rebecca's Passover and A Taste of Winter, had her research a little more into Judaism.

She said: "For those books I had to find out more about Chanucah and Passover, not having much knowledge of them.

"I went to different people in order to help me find out more, but I still wouldn't say I know much about the religion.

"I used to speak Hebrew as a child living in Israel, but now my level doesn't go past a six-year-old child's."

Cover Your Eyes is Adele's 98th book to date.

It tells the story of two heroines from different generations coming together to reveal guilty life secrets.

"The younger protagonist, Megan Pritchard, is a fashion journalist who has just broken off her relationship with her lover," she explained.

"She interviews Eva Conway, a retired-fashion designer in her childhood home that holds a dark history.

"Eva flashes back to an element of the Kindertransport, and the two end up living together and uncovering each other's secrets together."

This is the first adult novel Adele has written in eight years.

She said: "I have written many children's novels and briefly touched upon the topic of the Kindertransport, but this is the first adult novel where I have spoken about the topic in more depth.

"I prefer writing for adults as they allow the author to have more to write about."

Her previous four novels covered the topics of family, lies and romance.

Adele said: "For this book, I liked writing about houses and settings. It was a real struggle to write.

"My books usually take around nine months, but this took me eight years to write.

"I kept getting it wrong and re-writing until I was happy with it."

Having lived in Manchester for most of her life, she moved to Cambridge in the millennium where she now lives close to her children and grandchildren.

Daughter Sophie Hannah has latched on to her mother's passion for writing, having become a novelist herself.

Her most recent work is The Monogram Murders for the Agatha Christie series.

Adele expressed her preference over paperback books, rather than reading an ebook.

She explained: "A book looks great on the shelf, smells nice, and you can cuddle up to them.

"Although I have to admit, one day I received an email from Amazon reading 'get the Kindle free on your iPad'.

"Of course I couldn't resist this and I love reading my Kindle on train journeys.

"They are great for when you don't want to carry around a heavy 900-page book that weighs a ton.

"They are a very useful addition to books and for when a book goes out-of-print, but they can never replace the beauty of a good book."

Cover Your Eyes has had enthusiastic responses, especially from bloggers. She said: "I want the reader to be able to curl up on the sofa and lose themselves in it.

"The best books are the ones that create your own little world that you can step into. Anyone who reads it should have fun."

Adele's love for the online world strengthens by the day.

She said: "I am very noisy on Twitter and read many blogs.

"I have to say I waste a lot of time online, but I find it very enjoyable."

Adele contributes to a joint daily blog of best-selling and award-winning writers, called The History Girls.

Each member has an allotted day of the month to write their blog, covering a variety of different time periods and aspects.

Adele's advice to any budding writer is to read.

She said: "Listen to your English teachers and anyone who is trying to tell you critique.

"Don't give up and if you can't get published, there is always the internet."


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